Immigration and the Revival of American Cities

A new report from the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and Partnership for a New American Economy looks at how immigration helps revitalize communities across the United States through the creation or preservation of manufacturing jobs, the increase in housing wealth, and heightened civic engagement. The data show that immigrants play an outsize role in the preservation or creation of U.S. jobs—an important measure of community vitality—and make a particularly important impact on the manufacturing sector.

Using U.S. Census and American Community Survey data, Immigration and the Revival of American Cities: From Preserving Manufacturing Jobs to Strengthening the Housing Market finds that for every 1,000 immigrants living in a county, 46 manufacturing jobs are created or preserved that would otherwise not exist or would have moved elsewhere.

At the same time, immigrants are injecting new life into cities and rural areas, making once declining areas more attractive to the U.S.-born population. For every 1,000 immigrants that arrive to a county, 270 U.S.-born residents move there in response, and the average immigrant who moves to a community raises the total value of housing wealth by $92,800.

The report looks at over 3,000 counties nationwide from 1970 to 2010 to measure the impact of immigration on three leading indicators of community vitality: (1) the number of middle-class manufacturing jobs; (2) the health of the housing market; and (3) the size of the local U.S.-born population. The results are clear: immigrants are a key part of the American success story at the community level, revitalizing local areas and creating economic growth and jobs for U.S.-born workers.

This report was made possible with support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

About the Authors
Jacob L. Vigdor of Vigdor Measurement & Evaluation, LLC prepared this report with the assistance of Gretchen Calcagni and Mayuri Valvekhar.

Download the Report (PDF)

Download the Press Release (PDF)

Learn more about AS/COA’s Immigration and Integration Initiative.

About Us

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…